Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sculpted Mahogany Vanity - Photo Update

I haven't had as much time in the shop as I'd like, but today I needed a break from the day-job... and it was nice out!

As the latest sculpting video for the Mahogany vanity explained, the embossed coral pattern will get lowered so as not to be too proud of the surface as well as some accenting to give more depth and spatial relation to the parts.

A big factor in deciding what to do is to stop and look at the three panels in relation to each other.  If you remember the last scene of the latest podcast, the three panels were side-by-side.  Some of the coral growths that spanned panels looked like they took an abrupt redirection.  That was due to looking at them flat; I drew the side panel patterns free-hand with the panels clipped to the vanity bottom so those abrupt changes actually flow correctly in-situ.

Looking at them in-situ and from above is the normal way it will be viewed.  What looked like stark shadow lines that I didn't want when viewed at eye-level actually look correct when viewed from above at a steep angle.

There's going to be a bit more shaping, but the vast majority of it is done.  The channel down the center is for the drawers and hasn't been sanded in the least, as the color suggests.  That part will be shaped when we address the drawers.

From the podcasts, you know that I've been wetting the panels and storing them under weights in a humidity tent to keep them flat.  So far, so good.  When I spray them down, the chatoyance of the Mahogany really comes out and mutes the undulating patterns that are more stark here.

It's a contemporary project, for sure, but I like those.  If you're not into contemporary stuff, there will be some interesting work on the drawer fronts later that you could use in your own creations, but that'll be after I remove the old vanity and prepare the plumbing... I need that partially done in order to determine the drawer sizes.


  • Mark Rhodes said...

    I've said it before, thats going to look stunning when completed. How are you getting on time wise?

  • Anonymous said...

    Looking good! These pictures were really helpful for me in visualizing the finished product.

  • Brian said...

    Looks good so far. It looks like you've found another good use for systainers.

  • Dyami Plotke said...

    Looks great, Paul-Marcel. Want to come redo my vanity?

  • rmac said...

    About that humidity tent ... sooner or later you're going to have to bring those panels into your dry, air-conditioned house. What then? Are you thinking that they'll be forced to stay flat at that point because they'll be firmly attached to the vanity frame?

    I'm especially interested in this because I have a similar problem that I'm trying to solve by allowing the board to dry in a forced-flat condition.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, everybody... got a little behind. Small thing with the fire marshal...

    Mark-san: Time-wise, I had to think about that to get an accurate number; fortunately, I had footage to consult!

    I have no time estimate on the structural part; it's not a very difficult structure, for sure, and breaking it up for the episodes seriously messes with the numbers.

    Routing the sculptured faces would take a total of an hour off camera; on camera, it took 25 minutes each because I had to do things awkwardly to stay out of the way of the camera including spinning them around a lot. The third panel done off-camera went very quickly. So call that 2 with setup/tear-down.

    The first round of sculpting (up to end of last video) took one hour total for the two side panels and an hour for the front panel due mostly to a more complicated pattern and some turns that were awkward to shape with the sander's pad.

    The second round (since video up to these pictures) was an easy 2 hours as I was also chit-chatting online with some questionable character from Vancouver.

    That's 6 hours from flat panel to where I'm at now; there's still the middle part to do, but that gets done much later and isn't very time consuming.

    I also work at hobbyist pace :)

    Brian, if you think that's a good use for Systainers, look at this! ha ha, the paper behind the cabinet are the plans for my entertainment center and I used the FOGtainers to prop the TV up to where I think I want it. Entertainment center should be after this vanity build. It'll be time to brush up on trig as it is all compound angles.

    Dyami, you live too far away. It's called Long Island because it's a Long way away! :)

    Russ: I only left those in the tent overnight for the most part. I wet and tented them after the routing. The next day, I sculpted the two outside panels then wet and tented them. Couple days later (have I mentioned my day-job yet?) I did the center section, wet and tented. The next day, I rolled the video with the three panels upright. They stayed right there for 5 days before I took them down and had no motion.

    When I took them down, it was to do the final shaping. Two outside panels one night, center the night after. Each time, after shaping, I put them clamped and under the bag, but no water simply because I took so little off in a sense. The first two times when I wet them, I had taken large percentages of material off. Today, some friends came over and I showed off the panels and they are still flat. Regardless, I leave them under weights and the bags (no water) until I get to finishing them... just in case.

    I read your link. I agree with your theory. If you took even amounts off both sides then simply leaned it against something, it would have likely stayed flat. Usually I assume some imbalance and clamp it down to stickers a little like you are doing now (except without as much 6/4 persuasion!). I find that the wetting trick I do is most and sometimes only effective if you do it right when it wants to move as it hasn't "set" the bend. Hopefully this will work for you. If not, email me and I'll tell you what I did to a 6' long Walnut panel I screwed up when I didn't know any better.

    Okay, back to removing the old vanity to measure drawer clearances!

  • rmac said...

    P-M: Thanks for the more detailed explanation of your tenting regimen. Somehow I thought you were keeping your panels more or less continuously wet, and that seemed like it would be just delaying the inevitable drying-out. Makes more sense now.

    Those 2x6s in my photo are there only because my particle board surface plate is quite a bit bigger than the shelf, and my clamps wouldn't reach the edge of the panel. Think of them as Bowclamps without the bow.

    I'm liking the vanity! From the videos I thought it looked goofy because the center panel is so much busier than the two side panels. But it looks just right when they're oriented they way they're going to be. Are you planning to stain or dye this thing? With my current obsession with mahogany color variation, I'm seeing (from top to bottom) an orange-pink-orange-pink thing going on in your photos.

    -- Russ

  • HalfInchShy said...

    I'll leave them natural; when I'd wet them down before, the colors come together much better. Also, if you look at the middle section of the middle panel, you'll notice the ridge is much darker... that's because it has never been sanded so I can expect those boards to darken to that stage.

    And yes that pinkish board is weird in every respect; it's the one with those shredded cardboard-like curls when you cut it and it leaves fuzzies when I sand at a low grit. I wonder about that tree.

    So just Arm-R-Seal and some time to darken; I'd give them a suntan, but the sun is so intense right now over summer, I'm afraid something bad will happen when one side gets cooked.

  • rmac said...

    And yes that pinkish board is weird in every respect; it's the one with those shredded cardboard-like curls when you cut it and it leaves fuzzies when I sand at a low grit. I wonder about that tree.

    I have one board right now that acts like that a little bit, but not as bad as you're describing. Once upon a time long ago I had what I thought at the time was some lauan, or Philippine mahogany, and it had the fuzzies really bad.

    I'm starting to wonder if these color variations and the oddball fuzzy boards could mean that the vendors (Spellman in my case) get their stock mixed up once in a while. It's not like it's easy to tell one species from the other, especially in rough cut form.